provided by Saturn Cycling
June 12, 2003 (Giants Ridge, MN) – The first stage of the four-day, five-stage Nature Valley Grand Prix was contested today under rain laden skies and windy conditions in Northern, Minnesota. The women's field was an impressive one, with Saturn, Victory Brewing, Rona, T-Mobile, Nurnberger, Diet Rite, Jamba Juice, and America's Dairyland all fielding strong teams. The first stage for the women was a 61-mile effort bringing them from the small town of Hoyt Lakes to the quaint town of Virginia. Although a relatively flat looking profile, the actual roads rolled up and down, combining for a steady worth of effort over the course of the 61 miles. The race finished on seven laps of a criterium style course through downtown Virginia, which would later prove challenging for the officials as the groups that had formed out on the road merged and combined.
The field stayed together for the first 20 miles despite constant attacks from all teams. At around mile 25 a group of 14 formed with good representation from all of the teams. Rona and Saturn each had three riders in the group, and they did the bulk of the work to open the time gap. Also present were Tina Mayolo (Diet Rite), Sarah Ulmer (TDS), Magen Long (Jamba Juice), Dotsie Cowden (T-Mobile), Margaret Helmsley (Nurnberger) and Sarah Conrad (Basis). Saturn had Amy Moore, Manon Jutras, and Katie Mactier. Rona was the only other team with three, including Meshy Holt, Erinne Willock and Karen Bockel.
The group of fourteen remained intact until about three miles from the entrance to the finishing circuit when a series of attacks finally split the group. The front group of eight quickly opened up a gap on a chasing Holt and then the group of five. Upon entering the circuit, Mactier took the time bonus over Mayolo and Ulmer. Feeling secure in their ability to win the final sprint, Jutras and Moore rode tempo at the front, leading Mactier out. In the final finish, determined by photo, Mayolo was victorious over Ulmer and Mactier. Mayolo's win gave her an additional 30 seconds of time bonuses, putting her in the leader's jersey going into tomorrow's 6-mile time trial. Ulmer will be second, with Mactier in third.
The men's 97.5 mile road race covered much of the same roads as the women, and finished with the same seven circuit laps. An early break of four set the stage for the race. In it was Henk Vogels (Navigators), Tom Danielson (Saturn), Murray Carter (Flander's Brothers), and Adam Bergman (Jelly Belly). As it became clear that this group would stay away, a group of five bridged. The group consisted of Mark McCormack (Saturn). Claran Powers (Navigators), Oscar Pineda (7-UP), Paul Erris and Doug Ollerenshaw (Broadmark). The newly formed group of nine now began to gain time, however, Schroeder Iron having missed the break, chased behind in an effort to get someone in what now looked like the race winning move.
At mile 77 the front group split, and three powered off the front, including McCormack, Powers and Bergmann. These three held off a surging group of fourteen, which looked as if they may make contact. However, a wrong turn for the group of fourteen allowed the break to gain precious time, and upon entering the final circuits, the time split sat at 1:10.
Although McCormack took the intermediary time bonus on the line, the finish would prove to go in favor of Powers, who took the sprint from the front for the win over Bergmann. McCormack was third. Navigator's Marty Nothstein brought the field home for fourth over Saturn's Ivan Dominguez. Powers will wear the leader's jersey in tomorrow's time trial.
1. Tina Mayolo Pic – Diet Rite
2. Sarah Ulmer – TDS
3. Katie Mactier – Saturn
1. Claran Powers – Navigators
2. Adam Bergmann – Jelly Belly
3. Mark McCormack – Saturn
4. Marty Nothstein – Navigators
5. Ivan Dominguez – Saturn